Is Your Bank Account Leaking Money?
When was the last time you really looked at your bank account? It is easy to miss small amounts of money every month until you get declined or a check bounces. When this happens it creates awareness around your money situation.
Here are a few ways that you can plug the leaking:
The average American overspends eating out and grocery store. Some shop at the big bulk stores and unless you are diligent in cooking every night the 20 lbs of chicken you just bought chances are it will get freezer burned before you can get to it. If you go out to eat and bring leftovers home, do you eat them?
A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that Americans waste 40% of their food purchases. This equates to around $2,000 per year per household.
Banks have found plenty of ways to cash in on fees. ATM fees, below minimum balance fees, and overdraft fees. Before 2010, many banks automatically equipped accounts with overdraft protection, resulting in an average charge of about $35 for each transaction that put a customer in the red.
However, after enactment of the , banks were required to get customers to opt in to receive the “protection.” A 2014 study conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that opted-in customers paid seven times more in overdraft and nonsufficient-funds fees than those who hadn’t opted in.
It’s important to know what you’re paying for. If you’re paying a monthly fee simply to access your funds or for services you don’t need, it’s time to re-evaluate how you bank and whom you bank with.
For most people, energy costs fluctuate throughout the year. But the change in price isn’t always a direct reflection of the weather. It can also reflect the energy saving efforts you’ve taken (or haven’t taken) within your home or apartment.
You may want to consider installing a programmable thermostats. This would allow you to program the heat or a/c just when you need it. During the winter, try thermal curtains or use draft stoppers to keep hot air in and close the curtains to keep the hot air out in the summer. If your heat or air conditioning is overworking during the hours you’re away, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars each year. Other energy hogs that could be costing you big? Outdated appliances and incandescent light bulbs. Make a few small changes, and you could spend less all year long.
Subscriptions and Memberships
Subscription services are easy to sign up for, but most of us aren’t as quick to put a stop to them when they’re no longer useful. If you’ve signed up for more than one of these services, whether it’s getting razors in the mail, a magazine you never read, a music service you don’t even use all of those small fees can quickly add up. Take a moment to audit your subscriptions and say goodbye to the ones you no longer use.
Another potential money drain: gym memberships. If you joined with the January crowd but didn’t stick to your gym routine, it may be time to look into the financial benefits of canceling your membership and searching for apartments with fitness centers.
Cable and internet providers are frequent culprits of “price creep.” New-customer pricing eventually expires and sometimes fees get tacked on incorrectly. If you aren’t paying attention, you could be paying far beyond your budgeted amount.
Don’t Lose Hope
Every little bit helps! Even if it is a $1.00 with a little planning and some thoughtful decision making. Just put these tips to work for you and plug up those money leaks. Your finances will not be tied to a sinking ship!